The Days of Reckoning Began With Trump Ineptitude by marilyn salenger

                                                                                    Photo Image by Gage Skidmore

                                                                                    Photo Image by Gage Skidmore

With the indictments and unsealed guilty plea of Trump campaign associates on October 30, 2017, special counsel Robert Mueller let President Donald Trump know there's no denying facts. Few have been able to previously achieve such a feat. 

Mueller's detailed twelve count indictment against former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business partner and campaign associate Rick Gates include conspiracy against the United States, money laundering and being unregistered foreign agents. Both men pled not guilty to the charges largely emanating from their work with the pro-Russian Ukrainian government. But It was the guilty plea of George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign foreign policy advisor, that has opened the flood gates of information further than anyone expected at this point. Papadopoulos has admitted lying to the FBI. His cooperation with investigators is revealing critical details of the attempts by Russian intelligence services to contact him in an effort to gain influence in the campaign. Potential collusion is on the books. 

Who's swamp is being drained now? As a man who has prided himself on being a brilliant businessman and Washington outsider who knows how to get things done, Donald Trump has seemingly failed himself. His choices as a candidate laid the groundwork for a presidency now forever married to the first criminal charges and admission of guilt in the investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election. If he thought he could escape it by firing James Comey, he was wrong.

Donald Trump put together a campaign team who either knew less than he did about presidential politics or whose questionable pasts were well known to anyone who cared to look deeply. He kept his children and son-in-law, Don Jr., Ivanka, Eric and Jared Kushner, closest to him although they had no political experience. Trump chose Corey Lewindowsky, a man who had never worked on a national campaign, as his first campaign manager. Lewindowsky was a short tempered divisive man who fed into Trump's darker side while alienating allies and Trump's children and wrecking havoc with the campaign.

In June 2016, Trump fired Lewindowsky and named Paul Manafort as his new campaign chairman. Paul Manafort, viewed as a veteran Republican strategist, had originally been brought into the campaign in March 2016 to assist with delegate count. Trump saw a wealthy man close to his age who had an apartment in Trump Tower. He seemed to look no further. But they had a past.

Roy Cohen, McCarthy era famed lawyer and Trump's mentor, originally introduced Manafort to Trump in the '70's. Trump was doing business with Manafort's old consulting firm, Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly. In my blog post written June 30, 2016  "Trump Wears New Clothes", Manafort is described as a man who "has a particular knack for taking autocrats and presenting them as defenders of democracy". Trump knew what he was getting. Until he didn't.

Donald Trump asked for Manafort's resignation in August 2016 after new reports continued to surface about his past work for pro-Russian political elements in Ukraine. Rick Gates had come along for the Trump campaign ride as Manafort's long time business associate. But he continued to work for the campaign after Manafort left and stayed on through Trump's Inauguaration.

Steve Bannon became Trump's third campaign manager/CEO. He had never worked in a national campaign. Breitbart News was his claim to fame along with being a controversial character. None of that seemed to bother Trump.

Donald Trump has continually lauded himself for running an unconventional campaign and now an unconvential presidency. He has taken his love affair with choosing inexperienced people for jobs of political importance to the White House with seemingly little regard for the consequences. Trump has never really left campaign mode, and that now takes on an entirely different light.

The old adage that you're only as good as the people you surround yourself with rings loudly today for President Trump. When poor judgement, bad decisions and recklessness become known as major hallmarks of a winning presidential campaign, something has gone terribly wrong.       

Special counsel Mueller's investigation has just begun. The closer he gets to the truth about Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential campaign the louder the calls become for the investigation to end. Let's not forget we have yet to learn all of the facts about Michael Flynn, Roger Stone, Carter Page and the family entanglements of Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

 

 

 

 

 

A Timely Trump Flashback by marilyn salenger

Recent history often provides clarity on the circumstances of today. Sometimes people change. Donald Trump does not.

One year ago on October 11, 2016, the second presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took place in St. Louis, Missouri. It was a tumultuous month in the historic 2016 campaign. Trump's campaign appeared on shaky ground, the U.S. announced that Russia was trying to interfere in the election, and WikiLeaks was dumping new controversy into the race. 

As we watched both candidates on the debate stage, Donald Trump laid out the pattern we see being played out today. Trump used distraction to cover up his lack of substance on issues, no matter what Hillary said. No matter what anybody said. Distraction remains his continued modus operandi with only one difference - Trump is now President of the United States and the world is his stage. 

Days before that debate, the now infamous Access Hollywood tapes had been released showing Trump's mentality and despicable behavior toward women. He had been exposed.  Rather than contrition, Trump carried his anger into the debate lashing out and using his physical presence to stalk Clinton on stage. He became the omnipresent bully.

Donald Trump is an angry man. We saw it in the candidate, and we see it in the President. He's a man who believes that the way to succeed is to evoke intimidation and fear spreading anger wherever he can. There's no greater good in his mind other than what works for himself.

I described Trump as "seriously out of control" a year ago in the column appearing below. Tragically nothing has changed. In October 2017, time has become the controlling factor. How much time will it take for the Trump presidency to be brought down? 

Sex. Lies. Groping. Video Tape. and a Debate/ October 10, 2016  

                              St. Louis Debate

                              St. Louis Debate

We have gone through many stages of Donald Trump during this 2016 Presidential Campaign, but we now have reached the numbing effect. He went to the bottom of the barrel in the St. Louis Presidential Debate and did not come up cleansed. In an attempt to save himself after the release of sleazy video and audio tapes of self described sexual ways and encounters, he stooped even lower in full public view. 

In a move few could believe, Trump brought four women, three of whom accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct in the '90's, to the Washington University in St. Louis campus shortly before the debate began. Donald Trump held a photo op with all of them. Then his friend Rudy Giuliani escorted the women to their seats in the main debate room directly in front of Hillary Clinton. Trump apparently felt that humiliating her in a cheap and tawdry way in front of a world audience watching the debate was the best way to redeem himself.

This is the same Donald Trump who told us after the first debate, "I'm really happy I was able to hold back on the indiscrestions in respect to Bill Clinton. Because I have a lot of respect for Chelsea Clinton." The same Chelsea Clinton who was now forced to sit rows apart from women who had played a very painful role in the Clinton family life when she was a young girl. The same Chelsea who was seated in the St. Louis audience next to her father, the former President of the United States. The same daughter whose good friend Ivanka Trump was also sitting close by next to her sibilings and Melania Trump. 

That's what Hillary Clinton saw as she looked out at the audience in the relatively small debate area that had been set up.

And that's exactly what it was. A set up. Trump had wanted to intimidate her.

The Debate was held on a fine midwestern college campus. In normal times, it would have been a great opportunity for students to have the presidential candidates debate on their campus. But what took place last night was something that should never have been seen by any of us as part of the presidential political process.

Donald Trump came on to the debate stage an angry man backed into a self made corner. You can no longer be dispassionate about Trump. His behavior at the St. Louis Debate was repulsive and wrong. He created what was too often an abusive encounter mixed with psychological warfare. He tried to make Hillary guilty for her husband's alledged indescretions. Trump showed continual disrespect for the former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State, telling her if he were in charge "you'd be in jail."  He refused to stop interrupting and shouting at her. And this was a Presidential Debate.  

The one thing Donald Trump didn't do last night was offer the American people a major apology for his behaviors. Not the thirty second late night one quickly put together two days before. He wasn't man enough to do the right thing, and what many were waiting to hear. 

So much damage had been done to this debate by a defiant and arrogant Donald Trump that it was hard to focus on whatever substance there was. What we saw was a candidate seriously out of control.

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Equifax Doesn't Deserve Our Information by marilyn salenger

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When was the last time you agreed to allow a credit reporting agency to obtain your private information? Never, would be the right answer. Equifax, Transunion and Experian have built their businesses by collecting our most sensitive personal and financial information, including Social Security numbers, without our consent. They retain this information without having us check the box that says "I am not a robot" or pledging that 'in credit agencies do we trust'.      

These entities have been allowed to create a unique big brother mode of vast control over some of the most important aspects of our lives. Whether it's buying or renting real estate, obtaining insurance, loans, utility service and so much more, that ominous credit score in the sky rules over more than we would like to think. Most of my friends don't know my mother's maiden name or my driver's license number, but credit agencies do.

Equifax, Transunion and Experian not only collect our private information, they market it and sell it. And they really know how to sell. The big 3 credit reporting agencies have become huge businesses creating multi- billion dollar empires that use our information as their product. Pretty amazing when you think about it. Equifax reported 2016 sales/revenue of 3.14 billion dollars. Transunion reported 2016 sales/revenue of 1.7 billion. Experian 2016 sales/revenue of 2.81 billion. Unless you'd like to buy stock in their companies, we don't get any part of it. We just get to deal with the results of their work. 

The extent of information obtained by credit reporting agencies is, for the most part, not public knowledge. It should be. Experian is reported to have a marketing division which sells the "names of expectant parents and families with newborns" that are "updated weekly." Equifax "collects detailed salary and pay stub information". The more we know, the more outrageous it gets.

Our social security numbers have long been considered a sacrosanct part of personal information. Once we get that number, we have it for the rest of our lives. According to the Social Security Agency, "the number was created in 1936 for the sole purpose of tracking the earnings histories of U.S. workers, for use in determining Social Security benefit entitlement and computing benefit levels." Can it be called progress to know how far we have come from its original intent?

While our SSN numbers remain the determining factor for Social Security benefits, credit reporting agencies have taken those numbers to an entirely different level. Equifax, Transunion and Experian have created their own form of social security commodity exchange, selling those numbers, and any accompanying information, to anyone they deem a likely prospect. They mine data collected from us to enhance their bottom line.

A 2012 Equifax news release provides additional insight: 

Equifax Inc. (NYSE: EFX) today announced the launch of Equifax B2B Marketing Compass™, a powerful end-to-end marketing analytics solution that enables organizations to optimize the performance of their business marketing and sales strategy by defining the ideal customer profile and identifying hidden market and wallet share.
Utilizing market-leading, multi-sourced business databases to identify insights in customer portfolios, Equifax's B2B Marketing Compass employs customer profiling and market penetration analytics to enable users to identify winning customer segments and market penetration.  Users of the solution can also:

The Equifax hack of 143 million American's personal and credit information is a total breach of whatever privacy we have left in this digital age. Those affected will be dealing with its ramifications for a very long time. Equifax can be viewed as either having abused its power or being negligent in its lack of protection of collected data.

With little to no government regulation or enforcement, Transunion and Experian are as guilty as Equifax in abusing our information. They just haven't been hacked. Yet. The Fair Credit Reporting Act passed in 1970 was supposed to regulate credit reporting agencies and "compel them to insure the information they gather and distribute is fair and accurate". Despite several updates, the law is outdated. It doesn't deal with the marketing and selling segments of the credit reporting business, data breaches or the theft of personal information.

Congressional hearings are being scheduled and lawsuits will pile up. Consumers - you, me and eveyone else need to demand greater protection of our personal information. No one can get back what has been stolen from nealy half the people in this country.  

Including me. As I was nearing the end of writing this post, my telephone rang and a text alert came in. The first of my credit cards has been hacked by someone claiming to be "an IRS charitable donation".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ivanka and Jared: There Is No Hiding by marilyn salenger

The ignorance of a father need not be reaped upon the daughter.

President Donald Trump's outrageous and dangerous support of Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville will help enrich his standing with the alt-right, while he secures his position as the worst president in U.S. history. He has burdened our country with the betrayal of human decency and equal regard for all humankind.

When chants of "Jews will not replace us" come out of the mouths of marching alt-right extremists who were carrying or wearing swastikas and any form of Nazi look alike paraphernalia, shivers went down the spines of Jewish people. Let alone any sane person. Repeating the words "blood and soil" married racism to religious bigotry in the warped minds of those spewing hatred.

Armed neo-nazis stood across the street from a Charlottesville synagogue while other white supremacists chanted Nazi slogans as members of the Jewish community prayed inside. The President of the congregation, Alan Zimmerman, published a blog post recounting the fears and threats posed to those inside. The congregation hired armed security after Charlottesville police reportedly declined to provide the synagogue with a guard during the protests.

The Trump-Kushner family are Jews. Ivanka went through a well publicized Orthodox conversion to Judiasm before the couple married. Their children are Jewish. Do Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner think that hiding away for the weekend and saying nothing while anti-semitism and racism reared its ugly head in Charlottesville is something of which they can be proud? What would make them think that silence is the right thing to do when being silent and turning away led to the slaughter of their people, my people, in Nazi Germany? Hiding didn't save six million Jews who died in the Holocaust.

As a daughter who was very close to her own father, I have thought long and hard about the words I now write. What would I do in this situation if I was Ivanka and my father was President of the United States? I know it would be hard to counter a strong father whom I deeply loved.

I believe that Ivanka has probably learned to compartmentalize her life for the sake of parental love. She grew up with her parent's lives showing up in embarrassing newspaper headlines when she was old enough to have it be difficult. No matter what, no matter how disgusting her father's remarks over the years have been, Ivanka has stood at his side. 

My father was a man of honor whom I respected with my heart and soul. Like any child and parent, we had our disagreements. I was taught to stand up for myself, and I did. But if my father publicaly condoned the behavior of those who were neo-Nazis threatening to hurt people of my religion while speaking horrific, taunting words about something I deeply believed in - my faith and a husband's faith - there would be no question that I would speak out. Speak for myself.

Even if my father was President of the United States.

Ivanka Trump chose instead to go back to work as a aide to her father. Jared Kushner chose to go back to work as an aide to his father-in-law. And say nothing.

A few hundred miles away another father ... and mother mourned the death of their daughter, Heather Heyer, who was killed by an alleged neo-nazi protester in Charlottesville. Heather was standing up for what she believed.

 

Trump and Vacation Stress by marilyn salenger

I went on vacation to try and get away from it all, relax and refresh. It's something we all like to do, when possible, that's become a mixture of tradition and sometimes near necessity to break the daily stresses of life. I committed to not reading or sending emails on my phone while away with the decided form of communication being text to my son. I bought a good novel to read on the trip, with a plan to drift into another place for a couple of weeks. I think it's called escape. But my best efforts to do so were not full proof. Arriving at the hotel in Paris, the second thing I saw after the front desk were newspapers and magazines graciously laid out for guests. Most of those publications had what appears below as a theme and variation:

TRANSLATION: Trump: six months of tumult for few results

TRANSLATION: Trump: six months of tumult for few results

The miles I flew may have been great, but nothing it seems could get me away from seeing Donald Trump on front pages. Or hearing continued talk of disbelief and concern at his behavior among people not just from France, but from too many other parts of the world. 

I returned home to find news of North Korea directly threatening the U.S. and President Trump threatening North Korea. 

Which brings us to judgement. Can we trust our President's judgement? This is certainly a time when the world is watching and we would like to do so, but Donald Trump lacks any kind of firm knowledge base of international affairs let alone diplomacy. What he does know is how to do is bully anyone who attacks him while carelessly throwing around the weight of his words. Unfortunately for all of us, he's taken that behavior into the ring with North Korea leader Kim Jong-un. The North Korean leader is well known for his bully power whenever it suits him even if that means killing off members of his own family, which he has repeatedly done. 

Hair trigger personalities and knee jerk reactions are the last thing the world needs when nuclear weapons are involved, and that's exactly where we appear to be right now. 

Kim Jong Un on Thursday said a plan is being prepared to fire four missiles near the US Pacific territory of Guam. Hours later President Trump responded to Kim Jong Un at a news conference, doing nothing to calm the nerves of everybody watching: 

"If Kim Jong Un does something in Guam, it will be an event the likes of which nobody has seen before."

Threats and more threats. Somehow Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's comment one day ago telling Americans they "should sleep well at night" struck me as a weak Churchillian response to a concern that is keeping a lot of people awake at night. 

 

 

When The Trump Family Business Became Politics by marilyn salenger

"This election is being rigged by the media pushing false and unsubstantiated charges, and outright lies, in order to elect Crooked Hillary!"                           October 15, 2016, Donald Trump tweet

As far as Donald Trump was concerned, positioning Hillary Clinton as crooked and untrustworthy was the key way he could win the 2016 presidential election. "Lock her up" was the chant he encouraged and with which he thrived. Russian interference in the 2016 election is something that Trump has repeated said was a complete fabrication.

Trump lied then, and continues to lie now. The angry grandiosity of his claims remain a great cover up posing a great question mark in itself.

Hillary lost. Donald won. We have intelligence community confirmation that it was more than Trump supporters who helped him win the election. The story of Russian involvement in our election is being revealed almost daily as the result of top notch reporting, continuing investigations, and the Trump family themselves.

Using Twitter, the instant media drug of choice for the Trumps, Donald Trump Jr. has now affirmed his position as a focal point in the Russian saga. On July 11, he released details via tweets of his meeting with a Russian government connected lawyer alleging to have "damaging information about" Hillary Clinton. Donald Jr. came forward with the information as the New York Times was about to break the story. The meeting in Trump Tower took place after his father had won the nomination and included campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. 

Donald Jr. continued to publicly change the facts of this, in perspective, major meeting as the pressure on him increased. He did so like his father, for whom he is positioned at this point to take a significant part of the fall. 

It should come as no surprise that Donald Jr. neglected to report meeting with a Russian lawyer about the presidential campaign to the proper authorities, including the FBI. It's the way the family business has operated. They've never had to report to anyone except the IRS and investors. Reporting information to the outside world has only come when Donald J. Trump deamed it beneficial. 

President Trump has boldly made the presidency an extension of his family business, crossing all boundaries and all lines because nobody has yet stopped him from doing so. Whether his sons are currently ensconced in the White House or not, they're firmly attached to their father's hip running the other family business in New York and reportedly speaking frequently. Daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner are positioned with jobs inside the White House, knowing few boundaries while dealing with affairs of state. The Russia connection has now officially become a family affair by nature of how Donald Trump operates.

President Trump loves being considered the outsider when it's convenient. But he's not an outsider anymore. Trump and his kids knew little about the new family business of politics and governance when they began a quest for the presidency. Obviously they have felt no need to do everything possible to learn all that goes into the jobs of running a campaign ethically and responsibly, let alone running our country. The Trump family as a whole has chosen not to grow into their current positions of authority but rather remain a private corporation. By doing so they are risking the integrity of our country and standing in the world.

This is not the time for the rest of us to become uninterested in politics.

 

Donald Trump's Women's Problem Just Got A Lot Worse by marilyn salenger

                                                                                                                Photo by Gage Skidmore

                                                                                                                Photo by Gage Skidmore

The President of the United States has historically served as an ex officio role model for younger generations. Donald Trump is a man who has shown by actions and words that he is unfit to be held in such esteem.

We hopefully try to raise our children to understand right from wrong and be respectful of others, whether you agree with them or not. Donald Trump is a child President who never learned that his perverse use of public profanity and crude remarks about women continue to demean the office he holds. As the leader of our country, Trump's public vulgarity is the antithesis of a role model for children, let along anyone else.

Trump first showed us his ability to publicly take the crude to a new level during the 2016 presidential campaign. His cursing during rallies broke all norms of presidential candidate behavior. And he got away with it.

After the first presidential debate, Trump criticized Megyn Kelly for her questions on his previous misogynistic comments. His criticism of her moved to uncontrollable anger that went on to stun the country with the following words: 

"... she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions, "You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever."

He crossed the line then, and continued to cross it this morning during MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. He took his punching bag mentality to Twitter to criticize the show's hosts, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski - but especially Ms Brzezinski: His words sink to the lowest level of bullying, and were done in two Tweets:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came..

8:52 AM - 29 Jun 2017

...to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!

8:58 AM - 29 Jun 2017

Donald Trump's obsession with women and blood is beyond comprehension. His mouth is an unfiltered instrument used indiscriminately, especially when it comes to women. His "Access Hollywood" comments about his treatment of women were disgusting, but they took place before he became President. And he got away with it.

On June 29, 2017 Donald Trump opened his mouth as President of the United States and talked in critical terms about a female journalist bleeding. This is not just a boys club remark. This is the leader of the free world speaking, and I feel sorry for all of us.

Unfit for office has taken on a new meaning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President Trump the Game Player by marilyn salenger

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It took President Donald Trump 41 days after posting the Tweet above to let us know what he said in that Tweet was false and misleading. His new Tweet on June 22 comes one day before a congressional deadline for the White House to turn over information about possible recordings of conversations between President Donald Trump and former FBI Director James Comey. 

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Trump's refusal to state fact up front caused over one month of serious and continued speculation as to whether or not there were tape recorded conversations of Trump and Comey. The implications of such tapes, if they existed, were enormous. At its core lay the potential of hearing the truth, something that has been consistentantly hard to ascertain from this President.

The issue of whether President Donald Trump, during a private meeting, told his FBI Director to shut down the investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 investigation goes to an impeachable offense. Obstruction of justice.

Donald Trump has been playing dangerous games with this issue as if there are no consequences. When asked by reporters on June 9, 2017 if the tapes existed, he responded by saying, "Well, I’ll tell you something about that maybe sometime in the very near future."

One can try and be as objective as possible about Donald Trump's behavior as President, but he himself makes that as difficult as possible by continually showing us his true colors. What he was as a private citizen is what he was. But as President, slippery Donald is beginning to rival "tricky Dick" Nixon with his personal manipulation of the truth. 

President Trump is choosing to lead by inuendo and lies. That fact is now directly confirmed by his latest tweets and fabrications about tape recordings.

And then there is Russia's interference with the 2016 election. On Wednesday, June 21, 2017 officials from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security confirmed that Russia hackers targeted 21 states during the 2016 election. As frightening as that information is, President Trump refuses to acknolwege any Russian interference despite statements of fact. The looming large question remains, why?

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Game playing belongs on game shows or table tops, not in the White House emanting from the President of the United States. If Donald Trump doesn't realize it by now, lies and malicious inuendo will come back to haunt him.

Trump Style of Governing: How Much Can I Get Away With? / Reposted from January 12, 2017 by marilyn salenger

                                                                                         Photo by Gage Skidmore

                                                                                         Photo by Gage Skidmore

Whether it's Russia, tax returns, conflicts of business interests, Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, his sons, a lack of complete vetting for cabinet nominees or his use of Twitter, Donald Trump is approaching his presidency by pushing the boundries of laws, traditions and norms. We have a President-Elect who remains combative with a clear reluctance to let go of his campaign mode of operation. I won. Therefore I am.

President-Elect Trump will either rise to the occasion of assuming the presidential mantle, or he will sink. There seems to be little middle ground for a man who has come up in the world working hard to get his own way, although not always succeeding.

Interspersed with the glitter that's an integral part of his life, Donald Trump and his team have created a transition period filled with strategic chaos being felt around the world. Surrogates continue to be put out front explaining what Trump really meant to say to those who still might have any questions, knowing that a morning Tweet could undo anything previously said. A rollercoaster ride of ups and downs, no matter what your party, does not a smooth transition make, and the public appears to be feeling its affects.

The majority of Americans, according to the latest Pew Research survey, give President-Elect Trump "low marks for how he is handling the transition process".  There continues to be "widespread concern" about potential conflicts of interest, and his tax returns remain a bigger issue than he lets on. While Trump still refuses to release the tax returns that would provide a factual accounting of his financial interests, 60% of Americans now believe that he has a responsibility to do so. This runs contrary to the President-Elect's repeated comments that the only people interested in his tax returns are the news media. He once again attacked reporter's questions on the subject at his news conference on January 11, 2017, dismissisng them outright. Both the reporters and their questions. 

The level of Donald Trump's continued anger and disrespect for the news media and most anything he doesn't like that they report, sets a dangerous course going forward. A President doesn't have to agree with all that is written or said about him, but freedom of the press acts as a critical check and balance on our government. It stands as the First Amendment to our Constitution for a reason. Not since Richard Nixon have we had a man, soon to become President, continually attack the media with such vitriolic vehemence. It has the ability to signal red flags ahead. 

President-Elect Donald Trump is a man showing intent to govern in a way that reflects a desire and nature to try and get away with as much as he can until he receives insurmountable push back. We have a strong responsiblity to our nation and ourselves to make sure all checks and balances, whether it's Congress or the media, are in strong working order and are held accountable. There's too much at stake.

Amazon Bookstores You've Got Mail by marilyn salenger

The giant who ate everyone else for lunch has cleared the ground for itself as book selling continues to take on new meaning. Amazon's opening of brick and mortar bookstores is one of the most bizarre deja vu business stories of our time. It's the stuff movies are made of - and it's already been made. Rewind to 1998 when a movie called "You've Got Mail" humanized the bookstore wars of that time. Tom Hanks was the big bad large bookseller putting little old bookstore owner Meg Ryan out of business. The big guy fell in love with the little gal and they lived happily ever after with one bookstore.

Jeff Bezos and Amazon don't appear to be interested in the happiliy ever after part as much as they are in empire building. Yes, we all love Amazon, but here's a look at book business reality. The company worked hard to revolutionize or destroy (whichever word works best for you) as much of bookstore business as possible when they began selling books online. They reduced the price customers pay for books while reducing the amount of money their authors make.

With an inability to compete, thousands of small bookstores as well as large chains have gone out of business. Borders, one of the original megastore books sellers, went out of business in 2011. Barnes and Noble, it's early competition, is fighting for survival. With the opening of Amazon bookstores, the behemoth is stepping in to replace what they previously stepped upon. Even in some of the same neighborhoods. What will be missing are the almost intangible and valued feelings of intimacy, community and camaraderie that small book stores can provide. 

The battle of bookstores has become an evolutionary process with a survival of the fittest mentality. "You've Got Mail" actually portrayed the story of what used to be a beloved neighborhood bookstore called Shakespeare & Co. on the upper West Side of New York City. The small shop became enmeshed in a struggle to survive competition from the then reigning giant, Barnes and Noble. The big guy opened a very big store very close by complete with Starbucks, couches and lounge chairs. Shakespere & Co. was finally forced to close its doors after serving the community for 15 years.

In my own New York City days during the '80's and '90's, our treasured neighborhood bookstore was in the Columbus Circle area. It was called Coliseum Books and had a wonderful collection of something for everyone that helped make a busy city more like home. It was there that my young son learned to love shopping for books that became a part of his childhood library. Coliseum Books said good-bye to us in much the same way as Shakespere & Co. did to their neighbors. Barnes and Noble opened yet another big store blocks away near Lincoln Center.

Bigger is better was the overarching premise, and it worked for awhile until it didn't. Take notice Amazon. Barnes and Noble closed it's Lincoln Center location in 2011 adding to their shrinking numbers. The bookstore leader went from 798 stores in 2008 to 640 stores in 2016, losing its top business position.

Coming full circle, Amazon has opened one of its big new bookstores right in the old New York City neighborhood in between the burial grounds of Collseum Books and Barnes and Noble Lincoln Center. If everything old is new again, why did we get rid of the old to begin with?